Westminster CEO’s part two

This is part two of our interview with a Westminster CEO (Civil Enforcement Officer), part one is here.

Are you finding harder now to give out tickets? Because it’s being said that the revenue from parking tickets has gone down, and Danny Chalkley’s department is heading for at least a £10 million overspend. The chief Executive of Westminster Council has said that people are being more careful where they park.

There could be lots of reasons for that, one of the reasons could be because we have a lot of incorrect street furniture. So because the street furniture is incorrect, the time is not there, the kerb markings are not there, so the driver can park there and not get a ticket. Some tickets you can give and try to cover it, but some tickets are so blatant it’s illegal so you won’t do that.

So is there any comeback for a CEO who gives a bad ticket?

You have two kinds of bad tickets. You have the proper illegal tickets, and then you have the harsh tickets. The harsh tickets, the dodgy tickets we have all of these things. So the harsh tickets means I can see the driver, he’s coming he’s running towards me to move his vehicle. So when he’s coming what do I do. Normally by law I should let him go. But the CEO will look at the driver to make a judgement. If the driver is big, tough looking, he may look aggressive, you will just go oh OK you can drive off. But if he’s got a suit and briefcase or it’s a little old lady they can get a ticket. There is also some stereotyping going on, if it’s a white guy and he see the CEO is a big black guy from say Nigeria the white can feel intimidated. It’s the uniform as well.

But that must work both ways sometimes, you must get a lot of racial abuse back?

Yeah, but at the same time you’re more likely to give the ticket to this kind of guy. Especially if the guy is in a suit and he’s a white guy as well. So it would be very hard for this type of guy to fight me now, so I can get away with a ticket. So this is the kind of ticket you can force on the driver.

So going back to my earlier question, is there any kind of penalty for the CEO back at base for giving harsh tickets?

No no no, they don’t care about harsh tickets. A ticket is a ticket, that’s harsh tickets.

Does it not matter to NSL if as a CEO all my tickets were to be appealed either by Westminster or PATAS?

Well you need to understand there are the harsh tickets, but then there are the dodgy or illegal tickets. For the harsh ticket, there is no comeback, as long as the ticket is good, even though it’s harsh.

Then you have the dodgy tickets, which for example are, you see that driver there.

The CEO points to a van which has his back wheel in front of a dropped kerb.

We don’t enforce every drop kerb. We have specific addresses, so on some of them. So that driver over there I will log him from far away. I will put him in my system. Now the driver walks away and didn’t see me. So once he’s logged in my system I’m gone, I walk away. But 19 minutes later I’m back, and I have all his details already logged in to the system. So when I’m back I’m already printing, on the windscreen, then I’m gone.

When you say you’ve logged his details, does that mean you can continue to walk around logging other vehicles or do you have to stick with the vehicle you’ve just logged?

When I say I’ve logged their details, that is only a potential ticket, so I can go off and give other tickets, but the first driver will still be logged in the system. So when I come back to the first vehicle I logged, it will tell me how many minutes he’s been parked there.

How many vehicles can you log in at any time?

You can log 200 or 300.

So can you go to a street where the parked cars have only a 20 minute stay, and log them all in then go away. Then return after 20 minutes and just start printing?


So in the case of the van driver that didn’t see me when he parked, he would not have left his vehicle for more than 20 minutes if he had seen me. Because that’s what our job is meant to be, prevention. But we don’t do that because we need the tickets.

Another kind of dodgy ticket is when a driver asks you if they can park here, and if the CEO is desperate to get his ticket he will say yes you can park. Then once the driver has parked and walked away the CEO will give him the ticket.

So that is why the people say that we’re dishonest, this is the dodgy ticket.

So there is no comeback for these dodgy tickets. Because we have pictures, how is the driver going to prove anything. Our pictures will show the vehicle was parked illegally. He doesn’t know the CEO, he doesn’t have his number.

What about what happened last year in Bryanston Street where some CEO’s were giving out tickets on a bay with no signs, but taking photos of a sign from another bay? Was there any disciplinary action when that happened? (This is based on the Guy Basnett News of the World article here)

Well normally they would have been sacked, because that was falsification. But I understand they didn’t sack them, they just transferred them from our base. One of them was from our base, they just put him with another contract. So he is not in Westminster but he’s still working in another NSL contract borough.

So that was just the one CEO doing that, the story covered by the News of the World?

It was many CEO’s.

But only one got transferred to another borough?

All of them, all of them were transferred to another borough. They are still working for NSL.

So you told me earlier about killer CEO’s, how does a CEO get that name?

To be a killer you use minimum discretion. For example, say there was a lady running to her car, she’s one minute late, so for a normal guy like me, I don’t need the overtime. So I would let her go, but the killer CEO would issue that ticket. To be a killer you have to be quick, harsh and trust yourself as well. I mean in terms of physically, if there is a fight you mustn’t be intimidated. Sometimes the killer CEO will have to bully the driver. Let me give you an example, to be a killer you can force a ticket on a driver. If a driver returns to their car I am supposed to let them go, but a killer can force the ticket on him whilst the driver is inside the vehicle.

Haven’t the rules changed to allow a CEO to still issue a ticket even though the vehicle has driven away before the CEO has been able to stick the ticket on the windscreen?

Yeah that’s OK for CCTV, but the NSL management don’t like those types of tickets.

But do CEO’s give out tickets like that, when the driver has gone?

I don’t think so in Westminster, not very many. If you get a VDA (vehicle driven away) it isn’t counted as a valid ticket for you. So if on a shift you have 16 tickets but two of them are VDA’s, you only have 14 tickets that will count towards your overtime.

Would you go back to base with 2 VDA’s in your log?

Yes you will say to the managers I have two VDA’s written down, and you give them the tickets.

But do you know if the driver will be fined or not?

No we don’t know, we just hand in the VDA details and the tickets, and these do not count towards our targets. We are told that VDA’s are not counted as a ticket.

What does a killer CEO have to do to get given Argos vouchers?

The truth is the killers get everything he wants from NSL. He gets praise, and other CEO’s are told to look at killers as an example to follow, they get respect.

Is the term killer known amongst all the CEO’s?

Yes, everyone knows, they are beat killers. People have names like Terminator, Mafia, RoboCop and Moscow.

Do the supervisors refer to some CEO’s as beat killers?

Yeah, of course, they do sometimes use those names, but they would rather refer to killers as top issuers. But a CEO will use the term killer.

Now you see the killer his tickets could be harsh or dodgy, so in that case they wouldn’t take him as a supervisor or manager. You see they can see from his reports that some of his tickets are not very clear.

Would some CEO’s stay out longer than their shift hours to reach their target?

Yes of course, look when I was on probation I didn’t take lunch break just to get the number of tickets I need, because otherwise I would not pass my probation.

What time do you start work?

8am, we start with a briefing between 8am and 8:30am because the enforcements times start at 8:30am. Before the morning briefing they will tell you what beat you’re on that day. They will ask you you if you want working lunch, or overtime. The supervisor will look at the DPD, he will look at what you’ve done yesterday. If you had a 1.33 average he will consider you for overtime, or say do you want bank holiday, or do you want working lunch. You can they say what you want because you have qualified with the 1.33 average.

The beats are different, because of the concentration of vehicles. So if you’re in a good beat and you know where to get the tickets you can get the working lunch or the overtime, everything you want. On a good beat you can get to 16 tickets before 1 o’clock, then you can go and sleep somewhere. And that’s what happens with most of the killers, because they have killed the beat. So once they have the number of tickets they leave the beat, they can do anything they want, they can skive, and sleep. And the management know they are not covering the beat.

Doesn’t the DPD tell them when the tickets were issued?

No the DPD won’t tell you when the tickets were issued, that information is on the computer.

So the management can see on the computer if a CEO has issued all his tickets before 1 o’clock?

Yes of course, but the management don’t care if he’s skiving off so long as he’s achieving the targets.

But if you have been on the streets for 7 hours, giving advice to members of the public but you haven’t got many tickets, then you get the blame. But the killer CEO had the tickets before 1 o’clock, so for the rest of the time he doesn’t go on the streets at all. Some of them even go home.

So you have to know where the best places are for tickets?

There are killing times as well. It’s called beat pattern, for example at lunch times, drivers are rushing to get their lunch, and when they’re eating they can forget about their vehicle.

Which is the best beat out of Lexington Street?

Covent garden, because the drivers come for entertainment, they have theatres dancing, so drivers will forget about their parking. As well most of those drivers will come from outside London or another borough which is not Westminster, so they won’t know about the regulations there.

Areas like Harley Street are very good. Because they are seeing Doctors, it might take longer.

If they have paid by phone but they have gone over the time they have paid for, how long are you supposed to give them?

3 minutes, but some CEO’s will give them 5 minutes.

Part three in our next post


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CMCerOctober 13th, 2009 at 10:29 am

What an insight into these corrupt practices by NSL and Westminster City Council, I hope someone picks up on this and makes it clearer for people getting PCN’s and also better for the CEO’s. Sounds like they work in a real pit!

Good on the CEO’s for speaking out, the more the public know about this the better!

ChrisNovember 21st, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Corrupt practice, but lets be honest here. Many other services make their money on dishonesty and misleading, and I expect these killers who finish by 1pm and then going home are very happy with their job. They effectively getting £14 an hour and if they do the same thing on bank holidays then effectively £42 an hour on the bank holiday. I am not saying it is right, far from it but I also try to see from the other point of view and I expect many of the employees are happy as it seems if you bring in the tickets, you are free to do what you want unsupervised.

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